Wednesday, August 22, 2012

PSC: Interview & Giveaway with Susan Dennard

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If you love supernatural elements in a historical setting and like me, you’re obsessed with YA books, then you need to read SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY by Susan Dennard. Susan is today’s PSC guest and has agree to answer a few of my questions about her debut novel, which was released July 24, 2012. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!

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The book was originally titled The Spirit Hunters. Personally, I think the current title, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, is way more awesome and appealing. Why did you change it? And how did you come up with the newer title?

THE SPIRIT-HUNTERS was always just a working title. I knew that publishers very rarely use the author's chosen title, so I decided to name the book something I wasn't attached to--but something easy to recognize in my Documents folder. :)

A few months after sale, my editor, agents, and I sat down to brainstorm possible titles (erm, there might have been sangria and cupcakes involved). We were quite giggly, throwing titles back and forth--each more ridiculous than the last--when Sara Kendall (my agent at the time) said, "What about something STRANGE AND DEADLY?"

We all oohed, and then she said, "But what could we put instead of 'something?'"

Then we all realized she'd meant "something" as filler. Maria Gomez (my editor at the time), said, "Why not just SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY?" And then we seriously spent a solid 2 minutes chanting "SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY", nodding our heads, and smiling at each other.

And that, my friends, is how the title—and the theme of titles for the series—was born.

Obviously the book is set in the past and revolves around International Centennial Exhibition of Philadelphia in 1876. What kind of research did you have to do to stay true to the exhibition? And how did you go about it?

I did heaps and heaps of research. I always forget how much research it was until I sit down to write the next book and I’m faced with MORE research.

One thing I do is to rely on primary sources. I scoured guidebooks for the Exhibition, etiquette handbooks, guides to Philadelphia, diaries from Exhibition visitors, and newspaper articles from the time. I found original maps and paintings (and even a few photographs). I even went to Philadelphia just to get a feel for the city (even though only 1 of the structures from the Exhibition still remains) and—I'm not kidding—to run at full-speed across Laurel Hill Cemetery. I needed to know how long it would take Eleanor to get from the Schuylkill River with a zombie on her tail and hundreds of tombstones in her way.

The same happened for book 2, which is set in Paris. Loads of primary documents followed by a trip across Paris to all the places Eleanor goes.

There was never a mention of zombies in the book. Instead, you used the terms "The Dead" and "The Hungry". Is there a reason why you chose not to call them zombies?

Well, technically, zombie is a corpse raised by a voodoo sorcerer. I really wanted to get back to the roots of the term "zombie"--necromancy, mysticism, and already dead bodies (versus the viral zombies we see so often these days). But I also realized that no one in Victorian times would have heard the term "zombie". Plus, since corpses rising from the grave are a known hazard of life in my alternate 1876, I figured people would have long ago started calling these zombies something. So...why not the Dead? And when the corpses are fast and desperate to feed on soul, why not the Hungry?

Perhaps I'll throw the term zombie in for the third book--but only if it's a true, true voodoo zombie. ;)

Will we see more steampunk machines and inventions in the next book? What can we expect from the sequel? (Can you reveal anything or is it a big secret?)

Oh, absolutely!! Without giving too much away, Daniel has definitely been designing some more portable means of electricity as well as Dead-destructive weaponry. There's more...but it's of the romantic variety, and I don't want to spoil it for you. ;)

As a child, have you ever been to summer camp? If so, what is your best memories of those days?

So, I never got to go to standard summer camp—though I desperately wanted to. But it was always too pricey.

Instead, my parents sent me off to Scholar's Camp (which was actually a day camp). Now, don't get me wrong: even without the cabins and horseback riding, I ADORED Scholar's Camp. My most vivid memory is of dissecting a frog. I was only 8 years old, so I'd never done anything like that. It was the first time I'd seen inside a body—and also the first time I smelled formaldehyde. Blech!

But, I think what I liked most about my science class at Scholar's Camp, was the cute boy who was my lab partner. He was my first crush, and I recall his 90s style, blond mullet with great fondness...

Do you like your fire-roasted marshmallows burnt and black or nicely golden and gooey? Or are you more of a smores kind of person?

Oooh, I'm more of a smore's person. But with out the chocolate. Not sure why, but that golden gooey marshmallow flanked by grahm cracker is DIVINE. I'm still trying to convince my French husband of this who has never encountered smores...or even marshmallows, really.

Thank you Susan, for visiting the blog!

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More about SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, which was released July 24th, 2012!

susan dennard - something strange and deadly

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Lili’s thoughts on SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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Susan is offering  a copy of Something Strange and Deadly to one (1) lucky American winner!

and

Harper Collins Canada is offering a copy of Something Strange and Deadly to one (1) lucky Canadian winner!

To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Open to US and Canada only 

Ends Wednesday, August 5th, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal Summer Camp giveaways)

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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SusanDennardAuthorSusan Dennard is a reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies.

She is a writer turned marine biologist turned writer again. Among the traits she shares with her heroine Eleanor are a weakness for Shakespeare quotes, a healthy appetite for baked goods, and an insatiable curiosity. Sadly, Susan does not get to wear a corset or wave a parasol on a daily basis, but you can learn more about her crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on her blog, twitter, facebook, or Goodreads

Something Strange and Deadly is her debut novel, and for extra content, giveaways, and news, check out http://somethingstrangeanddeadly.com.

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Stéphanie is a 25 year old Optometrist living in a small community in Northern Ontario and even if she liked living in Montreal for 5 years, she believes the small town life is more for her. Ever since she was little she loved books and stories. It's no surprise that today, you'll always find her with a book within arm's reach.

61 People left their mark' :

  1. The summary and the cover caught my attention right away.

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  2. I'm attracted to the title and synopsis. :)

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  3. I love, love, LOVE zombie novels! Why haven't I heard of this one before? It's on my list now!!!

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  4. Steampunk and Supernatural are a wonderful mix!

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  5. I am most attracted to this book because of the steampunk. I love steampunk!

    :).

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  6. I won't lie, it was the beautiful cover that caught my interest. I'm so bad about judging books by their covers. This one sounds really good too! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  7. Thanks for a great post and giveaway! I've read such awesome reviews for this book and it's already on my "want" list :)

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  8. What caught my interest was the cover, historical setting, supernatural stuff, and the good reviews I've read.

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  9. Initially, it was the cover. But, I now think it would be a good story as well.

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  10. The cover caught my intreats first then I read the synopsis for the book and it instantly went on my TBR list!

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  11. All of the above - but honestly, that cover is just too darn gorgeous to pass up!! :D

    Plus, it's got zombies (icing on the cake lol)!!
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

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  12. I absolutely LOVED this book :D Dennard's extensive research was noticeable and definitely paid out! Can't wait to see more of Daniel's steampunkery (and hopefully romance) in the next novel!

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  13. Definitely the historical setting and steampunk aspect!

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  14. The description is what attracted me to it - I love the subject matter and think it would be a book that I would enjoy!

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  15. The cover and paranormal element and cover attracted me to this book.

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  16. What is not to like about this book. It has it all for me. And the author's first name is fantastic!

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  17. It's the historical setting! I love paranormal, but I love it even more when it's set in a different time period. :D

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  18. Hi!
    The cover and title, is the first thing that catch my eyes! This story is also something I never read before! Thanks for this chance!

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  19. Can I say all of the above? I think the cover is stunning, they synopsis makes me excited to read it, and I love steampunk, historical settings and supernatural elements. So really, the answer is all of the above. :D

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  20. The cover and the synopsis. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  21. I'd say the cover and genre.

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  22. First it was the cover, it's very eye catching. And I'm from PA so it's fun reading books that are based locally :)

    Thanks for the chance to win!

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  23. The mix of supernatural and steampunk, plus I've heard good things about it so I really want to read it.

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  24. ALL OF THE ABOVE!
    haha :] I have been wanting this book for a while.
    I enjoy reading different takes on themes like 'zombies'
    This novel is catchy all around!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

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  25. the cover is what first drew me to it, but then everything else about it! The synopsis and that it's historical and everything I heard about it was awesome!! Thanks for the giveaway : )

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  26. Well the cover is awesome and the historical context is something I always find interesting. Thanks for the great giveaway.

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  27. The cover is usually the first that will catch my eye, especially if it is a new to me author. That will usually make me want to read the synopsis. I think the cover is great! I also think that this book is something I would really enjoy. Thanks for the chance.

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  28. The cover first and foremost. I've read a lot of good reviews on it as well. I'm a young adult book blogger so the genre is right up my alley also. It just seems like an all around great book. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  29. I love everything about this book, but the supernatural parts make it better.

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  30. The cover caught my eye first, but it was really the synopsis that won me. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  31. The cover drew me in, but the synopsis is what me read it.

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  32. I'm always on the look out for a great Steampunk book, but the description really sounded appealing that I would have read it anyway. Not to mention that I love the cover. I guess I could say everything about the book appeals to me. Thanks so much for the chance to win!

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  33. I love zombies and the cover was pretty catching. Sounds like a fun read! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  34. First the cover attracts me, then the summary makes me want to read it. Thanks for the giveaway! :D

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  35. I love the cover and summary.

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  36. I'll be honest I judge a book by its cover but in this case thats a good thing because I love the cover of this book. I have read more about it and I cant wait to read it!

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  37. First the cover and title definately the supernatrual elements I am a paranormal addict,the historical setting is also appealing .Pretty much everything about this book grabs me .

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  38. This book definitely attracts me first with the awesome cover! The fact that the book is steam punk (a genre that only recently I have become addicted to) the added bonus as well has to be the fact that it does have those supernatural elements. Overall this book does really appeal to me!!

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  39. I LOVE THE COVER...but truth be told I love the idea behind the story as well! It's not something I usually pick up..but the action with the supernatural aspect really piqued by interest! I can't wait to read this! :D Not to mention, the title. There is just something very alluring and unique about it! I LOVE IT! :D

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  40. I love everything about the book, but the first thing that made me interested in it was the cover. I'm a sucker for gorgeous covers. (:

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  41. I really like the cover, but what really reeled me in was the synopsis!

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  42. Everything you mentioned makes me want to read this book! I've been waiting to get my hands on it since I read about it months ago, thanks for the interview!

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  43. I love that there's a supernatural aspect since that's usually all I read, but the cover is truly beautiful.

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  44. The first thing that attracted me to this book was definitely the cover. I thought it was eerily gorgeous.

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  45. The cover is what first captured my interest.

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  46. I am most attracted to this book by the cover it's gorgeous, but I also love that there is a supernatural aspect in this book :D Thanks for the giveaway!

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  47. A little bit of all of it. I'm new to the steampunk genre and want to try more, the paranormal is an old favorite and, as much as I hate to admit it...i really want that cover on my shelf.

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  48. I've been hearing this book is really good so I thought, what the heck, why not enter! Also, it's setting is in Philadelphia where I grew up :)

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  49. It definitely has to be the steampunk element of the story. There isn't enough steampunk books on the market.

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  50. I love the cover! It's so pretty!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  51. I think the supernatural elements and steampunk is what has sold me on this book. Thank you for the awesome giveaway!

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  53. The cover is so damn attractive. There. That's my answer and I'm proud. >;D

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  54. I like the Philadelphia setting combined with zombies and steampunk.

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  55. Aside from the gorgeous cover, I love the supernatural elements to the story! Love zombies!!

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  56. I like the fact that it's a zombie book taken out of the traditional zombie genre -- it's not a bunch of modern kids hiding in a mall or something. It's a pretty original spin on the genre.

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  57. I love the cover--it's absolutely gorgeous! I also think it's way cool how they're zombies in the book (I love reading about zombies) plus it's steampunk, which I have only read one book so far that's steampunk. I'm really interested in the genre and hope to see it grow over the next few years.

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  58. Thecover is what drew me into this book! Thanks for the great giveaway!

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